We love sharing property and home tips at 99.co – but we know our followers have clever hacks to share with us, too. For the month of August, a tribute to National Day, we asked our readers to send us home tips that has worked for them. Here’s what they had to say.
Property Tip #1: On choosing units
Owner #1: “I chose to buy my resale unit because I could tell the neighbour was a tolerant family. The seller had school shoes hanging off the corridor railings, multiple scooters not neatly parked, flip flops and sandals laying around, items intruding into the neighbour’s space and kids screaming at the top of their voices–yet the neighbour showed tolerance by leaving their door wide open. Having a side-by-side kind-hearted and nice neighbour is half a battle won!” – Grace, a 29-year-old Industry Relations Executive.
Our take: No truer words have been spoken. Good neighbours are hard to come by so it’s important to suss out your potential neighbours before you sign the papers. If there aren’t obvious tell-tale signs you could, instead, do the following:
- Simply ask the seller what their relationship with the neighbour is like. Are they quiet but polite? Have they complained about anything, or have quirks that you need to take note of? Although the seller might not be 100% truthful (they want to sell the house, after all) there’s no harm asking.
- Introduce yourself to the neighbours and ask them how they like the neighbourhood. You could try and form an impression of their friendliness based on their answers. If this is especially important to you, you can even visit the upstairs or downstairs neighbours.
- Drop by the house at different times of the day. Afternoon visits may be quiet as the children are in school, but night time might be different. Check out our article about the tell-tale signs of unruly neighbours.
Owner #2: “If you prefer less human traffic around your apartment, choose a corner unit or one away from the rubbish chute. You will have fewer neighbours walking pass your unit while on the way to dispose trash. You will also not have to suffer the noise of the opening and closing of the chute, and the creepy crawlies that come with it! Fewer chances of them scampering into your home, especially during fogging periods. Eek!” – Domenica, a 30-year-old co-owner of an Executive Condominium
Our take: Living near a rubbish chute does come with its disadvantages, which is why most home-seekers will not opt for such a unit if given a choice. However, as someone who actually lives near a rubbish chute (and the lift… double whammy, right?), I have to say my experience hasn’t been all that bad.
We don’t have to walk too far when taking our trash out and the area is mostly quiet and spotless, thanks to considerate neighbours and the fact that my BTO flat is only half a year old. I even took the liberty of placing some cockroach traps in the corridor and chute so they don’t invade our homes. Of course, it may not be the case for low-floor units, and some estates might be more poorly maintained than others. It really depends.
Property Tip #2: On getting good deals
Owner #3: Watch out for properties nearing their ABSD deadlines for potential fire sale discounts. – Dominic, a 32-year-old Manager
Our take: Developers have five years to sell their properties from the date they purchase the land. If they are unable to do so, they are required to pay Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty(ABSD) for each unsold unit, which is 30% of the land price! Hence, to avoid paying hefty ABSD fees, developers will try and sell these units at discounted prices before the deadline.
P.S: On the other hand, if developers manage to complete building the condominium and sell all units within five years, they can get back 25% of the ABSD charge.
Owner #4: I monitor land bidding prices by developers to forecast an estimated launch price. I did this for the purchase of my condo, The Alps Residences in Tampines, and got a good deal. It gives me a heads up of the price trend and also market sentiment even before the actual launch of projects around the area. – Rio, a 32-year-old pilot
Our take: Yup, sometimes you don’t need to wait for launch prices before you do your calculations. If you have your heart set on several condominiums, an estimated launch price based on land price is a good start.
[Recommended article: How to Hunt for Fire Sale Properties in a Recession (other than auctions)]
Property Tip #3: On saving money
Owner #5: Try not to take loans as they will incur debts. Instead, loan from your parents–they don’t charge interest and you can pay them at a comfortable pace. – Peiyu, a 37-year-old mother of one
Our take: Sometimes, when we bring $$$ into family relationships, it may change some dynamics or lead of some situations that are rather uncomfortable.
In any case, there is great opportunity cost for ageing parents, especially if what they loan out incurs no interest; they could otherwise have grown that money in a low-risk fund or portfolio that can ensure they have money to spend in their golden years, with any medical needs covered.
We understand some buyers may have the conception that loans are bad. But did you know that out of every type of loans that banks (or the HDB) provide, the home loan is the most affordable in terms of interest rates? Currently, the HDB Concessionary Loan rate stands at a constant 2.6%, whereas bank home loans are currently at a lower rate, at around 2%.
We’ve also written an article on the benefits of taking a home loan, even when you don’t need to.
Onwer #6: Use e-commerce platforms like Lazada and Shopee to purchase household essentials or even groceries. You can save a lot from these platform discounts, especially when stacked with vouchers. Best of all your credit or debit card used can still be eligible for rebates. – Alois
Our take: That’s right, this is a clever way to save money as long as you are conscientious about paying off your credit card bills. You can also sign up for a credit card before the wedding or renovation to accumulate points on big ticket items that will earn you loads of miles or rebates – such as a honeymoon package or buying appliances!
If you have good tips to share, please submit here and get a chance to receive our 99.co happiness package below!
If you liked this article, we recommend 5 first-world problems every homeowner experiences and We Asked Seven Homeowners for Their Biggest Reno Regrets
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